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Evolution of the 2022/23 Chilean Cherry Season

January 19, 2023

On Jan. 16, Claudia Soler, executive director of the Chilean Cherry Committee of the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX), delivered a WeChat lecture to over 1,000 listeners of Produce Report, sharing the latest export statistics for Chilean cherries. Although a newcomer to the committee, Soler has over 20 years of experience in international trade.

Soler began the lecture by introducing the production of Chilean cherries. The total cherry planting area in Chile has now reached 67,570 hectares, of which only 49% are currently under production, thus suggesting enormous growth potential in the future.

As the topic proceeded to exports, Soler focused on Asian markets and especially the Chinese market. She said that 92% and 88% of Chile’s cherry exports during the 2021/22 season had gone to Asia and China, respectively. As one of the world’s major cherry producers and exporters, Chile accounted for 96% of the cherry exports originating from the Southern Hemisphere in 2021. From 2018 to 2021, exports of Chilean cherries increased by an average of 19% each year.

According to a recent forecast from ASOEX, Chile is projected to export approximately 80 million 5-kilogram cartons or 400,000 metric tons of fresh cherries to overseas markets this season, corresponding to an increase of 12% over the previous season. About 85% of the exports to China this season are expected to occur before the Spring Festival, with the remaining 15% arriving during or after the holiday.

As of the first week of 2023, the total export volume of Chilean cherries had reached 384,288 metric tons, up by more than 30% over the same period of last year. China alone took in 339,676 metric tons, representing 88% of total exports.

Also of note is that shipments peaked in week 50 because greater volumes of Chilean cherries were sent to China during this period to supply the surge in demand during the leadup to the Spring Festival.

Toward the end of the lecture, Soler answered several questions of importance to Chinese fruit dealers. As noted above, the planting area of Chilean cherries is still expanding, such that export volumes to China can be expected to see further growth in coming years. In addition to enlarging the planting area, the Chilean cherry industry is also working to develop new varieties to extend the supply window. Although the development of new varieties takes time, relevant projects have reportedly been advancing in an orderly manner.

Soler also mentioned in the lecture that in order to obtain first-hand information regarding the performance of Chilean cherries on the Chinese market, ASOEX representatives flew to China once the Chinese government had relaxed epidemic prevention and control measures. After landing in China, they visited major wholesale markets, met with key retail partners and conducted interviews with the media. At the same time, ASOEX representatives have participated in a series of market promotional activities, including attending a ceremony celebrating the opening of the new “Cherry Express” service to Dalian and bolstering their cooperative efforts with Alibaba and Douyin. Soler firmly believes that the Chinese market, especially in lower-tier cities and rural areas, still has much untapped growth potential for the Chilean cherry industry. As such, ASOEX intends to maintain close trade ties with its partners to further develop the Chinese market.

Images: ASOEX

This article was based on a Chinese article. Read the original article.

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